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Photo by: Cristina Gottardi

Good news! Promising findings in regard to Alzheimer’s research are blazing their way into the new decade. Researchers from the University of California have created an immunotherapy combination vaccine that, they believe, will offer help for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The vaccine has shown success in mice. 

The preliminary version of the vaccine was created by Flinders University professor Nikolai Petrovsky in South Australia. It works by removing “brain plaque” and tau protein aggregates, both of which have been extensively linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. If the vaccine can actually remove accumulated beta-amyloid  (Aβ) plaques and tau protein aggregates from human subjects’ brains, as it did in mice that had already shown signs of Aβ and tau pathologies, that should, in theory, stop the development of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Professor Petrovsky explains in a media release, “Our approach is looking to cover all bases and get past previous roadblocks in finding a therapy to slow the accumulation of Aβ/tau molecules and delay AD progression in a rising number of people around the world.” He goes on to say, “Taken together, these findings warrant further development of this dual vaccination strategy … for ultimate testing in human Alzheimer’s disease,” Petrovsky is hopeful that the vaccine will be ready for human trials in as little as two years. 

As hopeful as this all is, we need to be reminded that this isn’t the first time a possible preventative drug for Alzheimer’s has shown promise. Every other one of these drugs has ultimately failed in some way when it came time for human trials. Because of this, the research team is highly motivated and determined to develop a vaccine that can, at the very least, successfully slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.

As research progresses, we have more of a reason to hope for the best. With Alzheimer’s and dementia affecting an estimated 5.5 million people in the U.S, alone, we need something to look forward to!